Confusion for the consumer is the order of the day when it comes to long distance telephone service. Gone are the days when Ma Bell was the only choice. Now, the competition between carriers has resulted in a hopeless jumble of calling plans and discounts. One major carrier has as its musical motto a claim to be “your true voice.” A competitor airs ads that counter “it just doesn’t ring true.” The contradictory claims and complex offers make it seem impossible to decide who’s right.
Many people are convinced that the same situation prevails in matters of religion. There are so many different claims, so many contradictory schools of thought on the subject! the general public seems to have concluded that there can be no indisputable truth about God. After all — one opinion is as good as another, isn’t it?
A few dollars a month in phone charges is nothing to get overly anxious about. There is not a great deal lost if we are confused about long distance carriers and we don’t have the time or inclination to sort it all out. But when it comes to spiritual matters there is an issue at stake that is of far greater magnitude. The difference between truth and error with regard to God and salvation is the difference between eternal life and eternal damnation.
It is true that one human opinion about religion is as good as another. Thank God that He has given us HIS OWN truth — the one “opinion” before which all others must fall! He has given us a “true voice” that we can follow with complete trust and confidence. It is the voice of the Good Shepherd, Jesus Christ. Our Lord said: “My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me. And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.”
In Jesus’ day it was common for many shepherds to keep their flocks penned together at night for safety. In the morning each shepherd would come and separate his sheep from the others, simply by calling to them. Recognizing their master’s voice, the sheep would follow him – and him only — out to green pastors and still waters.
When, by the Spirit’s power, our ears are attuned to our Shepherd’s voice alone, we know that He has given us eternal life! His Word in the Holy Scriptures comes through, loud and clear, even above the noisy din of this world’s wickedness and idolatry. The true voice of the Good Shepherd tells us that if God were to give us what we deserve, we would suffer eternal punishment. But in soothing words of comfort, this voice assures us that all has been paid, that the Father’s demands for justice were satisfied when the Shepherd gave His life for the sheep on Calvary’s cross.
There are also many false shepherds, imposters, who seek to imitate the master’s voice and lead the sheep to slaughter instead of to life. That is why it is so important to hear our Savior’s true voice daily, through personal Bible reading and study. That is why it is so important to gather together regularly for mutual support in following the voice of the good Shepherd. We are better able to discern the subtle nuances of the true voice of Jesus as we grow in our knowledge of the Bible.
Do you plan to switch long distance carriers soon? If so, you may need to do a lot of homework before you can be sure you’ve found the best deal. When all is said and done, however, any one of the major services will probably do an adequate job. But when it comes to full forgiveness of sins and eternal life, there is only one choice: “I am the good shepherd; and I know My sheep, and am known by my own” (Jn. 10:14). The Word of Jesus, our Good Shepherd, is “YOUR TRUE VOICE” in the fullest sense!
— Pastor Bruce Naumann